Pharmacy Tech Course
How to Find the Best One Near Florence Alabama
Now that you have made the decision to attain your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near Florence AL, you may be pondering how to choose the best school to get your education and training. Of course the initial step is to locate schools that offer the diploma or degree that you are interested in. When checking out pharmacy technician schools, many potential students start by zeroing in on the ones that are nearest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While tuition and location are significant factors when selecting a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifications including reputation and accreditation must be evaluated also. You might also choose to research several accredited pharmacy tech online programs as an alternative to attending classes on campus. We will cover these qualifications and some others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the degree and certification options available, and the benefits of online programs.
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Pharmacy Technician Job Responsibilities
Pharmacy techs have numerous job duties, but their primary responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must operate under the management of a licensed Florence AL pharmacist. They must also have great customer service skills because they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when filling prescription medications per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they can help customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever offer medical advice relating to prescriptions or anything else. All such questions should be directed to the pharmacist. Several of the typical daily services a pharmacy tech might perform are:
- Receive and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Fill prescription drugs under pharmacist guidance
- Enter customer and prescription data into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and monitor and control inventory
Due to the nature of their job, pharmacy techs will spend most of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, especially for newer technicians with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally having to work after hours is a very gratifying career assisting customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Degrees
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically two alternatives to training to be a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which usually can be finished in a year or less. These programs provide an overview to the different elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include lab and classroom training. Many programs also include an internship at an approved Florence AL pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which generally takes about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does offer a more in depth education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program should furnish the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications Offered
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but numerous graduates of pharmacy tech colleges opt to get certified in order to be more competitive when seeking employment. Also, many Florence AL employers will only hire a tech that is certified. There are 2 organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requirements are that the candidate be 18 years or older, be a high school graduate, has finished a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is mandated every 2 years by both programs, which may be met by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Schools
Before deciding on a pharmacy technician online school, it's necessary to understand that the majority of schools do require that a substantial part of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is typically satisfied in an area Florence pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work under an experienced pharmacy tech in order to acquire some work place experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training may be accessed over the internet in your Florence AL home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for many students, particularly for those who continue to work while acquiring their certificate or degree. And online programs are sometimes more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenditures for commuting and course materials can be reduced substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is provided. But not all online schools are accredited, which is important for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So verify that each online school you are considering is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to learn with a less supervised form of education, then online classes may be the right option for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Technician Schools
Once you have determined whether you wish to earn a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can begin to target your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacist tech programs to select from in the Florence AL area and throughout the USA, so you must create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and vocational schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will probably first start looking for schools that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Florence residence. If you are willing to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be significant. But there are several other issues that you must take into consideration so that you may effectively compare colleges. The following questions will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacy Technician Program Accredited? Many pharmacy technician colleges and trade schools have acquired a national or regional accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to furnish a complete quality education. Online programs may additionally obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with distance or online education. Be sure to verify that the certificate or degree program as well as the college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping make sure that you get a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may require that the training program is accredited. And a number of Florence AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the School Prep You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but a number of employers prefer that the technicians they employ be certified. The pharmacy technician college needs to ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of job experience. This qualification can be satisfied by entering a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Offer Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA mandates a year of job experience for certification, which may be fulfilled through an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech certificate or degree programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Florence AL area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Help? Finding that first position in Florence AL after graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a difficult undertaking without some support. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the school has an excellent reputation within the profession creating demand for its graduates. It also means that it has a sizable network of pharmacy contacts where it can place graduates.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the school they choose will have to be within driving distance of their Florence AL residence. Students who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are reviewing what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the pharmacy technician school you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Florence AL area, make sure that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Florence Pharmacy Tech Program
Getting the best pharmacy technician training is an important first step to launching your career in a gratifying occupation where assisting people with their health is your objective. Traditionally, most pharmacist techs were taught "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally trained technicians. Training is provided by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacist technician schools include both clinical and classroom work. As we have discussed in this article, it's important to enroll in a program that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This applies both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional suggestions you will be able to evaluate programs so that you are certain to make the right choice. With the right education and determination you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Florence Alabama.